On Monday 21st January I had a meeting with the Agricultural Minister George Eustice MP to put the case that 7000 small florist businesses rely on a continued supply of flowers from The Netherlands and with a perishable product we cannot stock pile like some other industries. I am sure you are all aware of the turmoil in Parliament at the moment with a deal or no deal, so I don’t need to go into detail here, needless to say there are different outcomes for our Industry.
If there is a deal before the 29th March, then it should be business as normal for the next 20 months and we will, as the BFA, keep fighting the corner for the florist. If there is no deal the Minister assures me that he will do all he can to keep the supplies from The Netherlands flowing through the ports and the Euro Tunnel with minimal checks. I did explain to him that some wholesalers receive the supplies at midnight, ready to distribute to the florist by 4 or 5 in the morning, and any holdup will affect the florist considerably. There may be a problem with supplies routed through The Netherlands that have not been checked by them, these may need to be checked at the first port of call in the UK.
The Minister has urged the Wholesale Industry to look at alternative routes into the UK if the ports get held up by the EC, this could involve flying flowers into regional airports. At the moment the French ports are saying there will be no holdups if there is no deal, but we do not know how the EC with react to this.
If there is no deal and you purchase your flowers direct from a Dutch Wholesalers website, you become an Importer and there may be a need for you to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI). We will update our members nearer the time.
Unfortunately, there is no definite list of Wholesalers in this country for us to ensure we have informed them all. I would be very grateful if you would email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Name, Address, Phone number and importantly the email address of the wholesalers you use both UK based and in The Netherlands, so none are left out of the loop.
I don’t believe there has ever been a time in the last 40 years when something this serious has affected our industry. With all this uncertainty and with Making Tax Digital also on the 1st April, this should unite all florist to join their trade association to ensure that our voice is heard and protect our livelihoods.
If you are not a member,
Join today by visiting the www.britishfloristassociation.org website and clicking on the join tab, you can pay quarterly if you like – don’t leave to other florists as they may be leaving it to you!!
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